How to Check if My Driving Licence is Valid

How to Check if My Driving Licence is Valid

You can check if your driving licence is valid by looking at section 4b on the front of your licence. 4b is the date at which your driving licence will expire. This applies to both full or provisional driving licences. You may also see the driving licence expiry date printed on your photo.

Why do Driving Licences Expire?

Driving licences expire because of the digital identification photo. The black and white photo makes up part of the driving licence security, enabling more efficient and accurate identification by authorities. An up to date licence also can help to prevent fraud and identity theft.

How Long is a Driving Licence Valid?

As you age, your facial features change and over time may differ significantly from the photo on your licence. It’s due to the photo that a photocard driving licence is valid for 10 years. Before your current licence expires, you must renew it if you intend on driving. The DVLA write to all photocard licence holders informing them that their licence is due for renewal.

Note; If you still hold the old paper driving licence (issued pre-1998), these tend not to expire until you’re 70 years old.

Is it Illegal to Drive with an Expired Licence?

Yes, it is illegal to drive with an expired driving licence and it comes with the potential of being fined £1000 and gaining between 3 and 6 penalty points. Driving with an expired licence is quite a common offence, in fact the DVLA state that there’s currently over 2 million photocard licences that are out of date.

There’s also a greater risk if you’re involved in an accident. If your licence has expired, it’s therefore invalid and this may affect your car insurance policy. You car insurance provider may be well within their rights to refuse a payout or may offer to pay a reduced amount leaving you significantly out of pocket and potentially liable to legal action.

How do I Renew My Driving Licence?

The easiest way to renew your driving licence is via the website. If renewing via the government website, you’ll need a valid passport. If you do not have a valid passport, you can renew at a Post Office that has the facilities to deal with DVLA photocard renewal, or you can renew your licence by post. If renewing by post, you’ll need to order the D1 Pack forms to send the DVLA.

My Licence has Expired, Will I be Fined?

If there’s a delay in renewing an expired driving licence, the DVLA tend to be lenient, so you wont be fined. However, if the delay has been for two or more years, the DVLA may request a valid reason for the delay and as a result, there is the potential for you being required to take another driving test.

Do I Need to Renew My Licence if I Move Home?

If you have changed address and not informed the DVLA, there’s a risk of being fined £1000 if caught driving by the police. You can do this free of charge via the the website. Note; updating your address will not renew your driving licence and the expiry date will remain the same. If you want to renew your driving licence, you’ll also need to send a new photo. Updating your address details is free, but updating your photo (renewing your licence) is charged at a fee detailed on the government website.

7 thoughts on “How to Check if My Driving Licence is Valid”

  1. Mpho Sam

    Check drivers date

  2. Richard Rees

    Hi there my name is Richard on my back of my license it states I’m able to drive until 2037 but on the front it says 10 7 22 can I still drive until my renewal arrives please

  3. Hi Richard,
    Contrary to popular belief, an out of date photo does not invalidate your licence. Though your licence is still valid, the offence committed is failure to notify the DVLA of up-to-date information. It’s a non-endorsable offence (no penalty points), but may incur a fine.

    However, if you have applied to renew your licence, in most cases you should be able to continue driving provided that you only drive vehicles that you were entitled to drive on your previous licence, that you have not been told by a doctor or optician that you should not drive and that you’ve not been disqualified from driving.

  4. Catherine Sarah Dixon

    At the beginning or April I applied on line to renew my driving as I am 70 on 15/06/2023. The renewal licence I have been sent also expires on 24/06/2023! Will I be sent another licence before my 70th birthday?

  5. Hi Catherine,
    As you say, when you reach 70, you must renew your licence. The new licence that the DVLA send should last for 3 years, but you say that the renewal licence you’ve been sent expires just after your 70th birthday? If that’s the case, it must be an error on behalf of the DVLA or at least there must be some paperwork informing you of why the licence expires so soon. The processing time for an online licence renewal is about 2 weeks. You can usually continue driving if you’ve applied to renew your licence (see Can I drive while my application is with DVLA?), but if believe this is an error, then you should contact the DVLA. You can contact the DVLA by phone (0300 790 6801) or by webchat.

  6. Linda Hamblin (Taylor)

    I moved house and got married at the same time I’d lost my driving licence card and had no number I sent off my application January 2019 but realised recently that I never received a new one I’m 64 and computers get me confused can you help me I’ve found my number recently if that helps and my licence goes from 24/11/81 to 19/01/29 can you advise please

  7. Hi Linda,

    You can apply for a new driving licence via the telephone:

    DVLA Driving Licence Enquiries
    Telephone: 0300 790 6801
    Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm
    Saturdays, 8am to 2pm

    You’ll need to provide addresses where you’ve lived for the last 3 years and, if you know them, your:

    1. driving licence number
    2. National Insurance number
    3. passport number

    The DVLA representative will be able to help if you have any issues with the above. The DVLA lines can get a little busy, but I’d recommend talking to the DVLA as they’ll be able to advise you on what to do given your new address and what methods you have to identify yourself.

    You can also apply post. You’ll need to complete form D1 ‘Application for a driving licence’, available from most Post Offices.

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